Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exchanges with Chiara

Chiara (over at the grey tail) and I decided to have an exchange, and this was the one rule: one item had to be cross-stitched and one had to be made using any other technique.

So, first, the cross-stitching: This is a freebie from the Kreinik website. I stitched it up on beige 14-count Aida using DMC 4240, which I think is very dramatic. I finished it off as a pincushion with black backing fabric, and attached a tiny silver "made with love" charm to the corner. It's not exactly cross-stitching, I know, but I love how it turned out!

Second, the "something else": Chiara loves the organic, the natural, the sustainable. I picked up a pair of TOMS shoes some time ago, and with every pair they give you a TOMS flag, which I've never found a use for. Now I have! I turned it into a completely hand-sewn, zippered pouch. (If you've never heard of TOMS shoes, learn about them here - it's a great initiative!)

I included Athena's Needle's "Mughal Elephant Stitching Accessories" chart, a couple of buttons for the biscornu in the chart, some Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe threads, and lavender-scented soap made from camel's milk. Here's Chiara's picture of the whole package:

In return, Chiara has completely spoiled me:

She made me a Broderie Suisse piece (the little scissor fob with the beautiful white stitching - the other side of it has multicolored stitching) and a beautiful pin pillow with stitching-themed buttons.
 Then she included the kit for The Snowflower Diaries' "Under the Pear Tree" (she emailed me the PDF file earlier, which I still need to print out), and a signed (!!!!) chart from Nikyscreations.

There was also a Nikyscreations pumpkin pin pillow, a pair of DMC scissors, some adorable buttons, a pre-finished heart for cross-stitching, a tin of tea leaves, and a bag of sweets. I love it all soooooo much, and can't wait to play around with all these goodies!

Thanks again, Chiara! :D

PS This is your last chance to enter my second-year blogoversary giveaway! Drawing will be on Sunday, the 2nd of February. If you haven't entered yet, you can do so here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Still Tired, and a New Start!

Hi everyone! I'm back from my short trip to Kuwait. Whew - it was such a busy weekend! I barely had any time to catch my breath when I got back, either, because I had to go back to work the next morning.

So, since my family is mixed (my mother's American, my father's Arab), we like to mix up the wedding traditions. We had a very typically American bridal shower, with games and presents and cake. And the next day we had what we call a "milcha," the signing of the marriage license. This is always a very big deal in any Arab household, since it means you're officially married, even though the wedding isn't for another couple of months. We did this same combination for my marriage too, and it's always so much fun to get both sides of our cultures involved!

I didn't get a whole lot of stitching done, since we spent most of the time running around getting the house prepared every day for the parties. I did take Bent Creek's Land of Liberty Zipper (given to me in a recent exchange with Shirlee), since it's a kit and I didn't have to put together the materials to take with me. I got a good start on it, I think:

The fabric provided is Wichelt Imports 18-count Natural linen, which feels like stitching through burlap (not necessarily a bad thing - it's got a great effect!), and the threads are DMC pearl cotton.

I'm really enjoying stitching this up. I've always been a big fan of Bent Creek's designs, though for some reason I've never had the opportunity to stitch one. One of my favorites is this Zipper:

This must be out of production or something, because I can't find it anywhere. If someone has it, even as a pattern in a used kit, let me know - I'd be willing to buy it or have an exchange for it!

Anyway, I think I've rambled on enough for today. There's a little less than a week left before my second-year blogoversary giveaway, so if you haven't signed up yet, go here!

Good to be back,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All's Well that Ends Well

All right, the disaster of this weekend with the framing of the American Flag Quilt (described here) has been undone. Whew! I tidied up the mess they made with the threads by presumably whipping it with a stick (?! I honestly have no idea what else they could have been doing that would have caused that much damage!), took it back to the store, and the salesman popped it into the frame and secured the back within five minutes. I really appreciated his concern and the care he took making sure I was happy with it. They've framed a couple of pieces for me before (you can see them here), and they did a great job with them, and I've gotta say after this customer service experience I will definitely come back.

So, the big reveal:

Taking a picture was a delicate balance: enough light that the colors showed realistically, but not so much that there was a glare. And this isn't hung up, it's just propped up on the bed's headboard until I can find it a home. I went for a very simple, plain wooden frame, aiming for a vintage Americana look. There's so much detail in this piece that I didn't think a busy frame would be necessary. What do you guys think?

The before picture:

Oh, and if you haven't signed up for my second-year blogoversary giveaway yet, be sure to do so here!

Happy stitching!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A HUGE Disappointment

I am currently going through what can only be described as a stitching nightmare. You might remember that I had a major finish last year, with my American Flag Quilt. I had this folded away until I could find the time to go to the framer's. A couple of weeks ago, I finally did. When it was ready, I didn't even bother to check it at the store - I've had a couple of other pieces framed by the same store and never had a problem. So it was only when I got home and unwrapped it that I saw what they'd done.

Honestly, I was so angry I couldn't breathe. Out of the 50 states, about 15 of them had their backstitching ruined. I didn't know what to do: break it open and rescue my baby, take it back to the store and break it over their heads, crawl into the bathroom and cry... After half an hour of deep breathing, I put it back in the bag, got into my car, drove to the mall, and calmly explained to them that they'd ruined my stitching and that they needed to take it out of the frame. The problem is, this place is just the storefront/photo studio, not where the actual framing is done (I think they contract out or something), so I didn't expect them to do anything right there. But thankfully the salesman took it into the back room and opened it up, so I didn't have to lose my mind.

I was told that I could take it home, fix it, bring it back, and they'd re-frame it in front of me. If I'm not satisfied, they'd give me a refund. Once my blood pressure had gone back to normal, I decided this was a good deal.

More deep breathing...

On to happier thoughts - if you haven't joined my second-year blogoversary giveaway, you can do so here.

Badly disappointed,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blogoversary Giveaway!

Happy New Year, everyone! :D I hope you all spent New Year's Eve surrounded by the comfort of family and friends.

In a month, on February 3rd, I will have been blogging for two years! And I thought, on the occasion of my second blogoversary, that I should have a giveaway. Without further ado, here is the package that is up for grabs:

1. The "Where Stitchers Meet" ornament that I just finished up.

2. A tiny little biscornu, stitched on 18-count Aida with DMC Variations 4230 and 4100,

3. A large baggie full of charms, buttons and beads,

4. 1 x 1/2 meter of a great Christmas fabric (you can get a head-start on next year's Christmas ornaments!),

5. The Stoney Creek Collection's Book 48, which is full of great "profession" charts,

6. The Scarlet Thread's Collector's Item VII, and

7. A pair of beautiful earrings from Yemen.

The giveaway will be open for a month, with the drawing to be on the 3rd of February. A few very simple rules, if you'd like to enter:
1. Be a follower of this blog,
2. Have an active blog yourself,
3. Leave a comment on this post.

That's it! May the best man/woman win! :D

Good luck,